Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight"
I. Adagio sostenuto (Arr. for Harp, Piano, & Strings by A. R. Rahman)
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: I. Adagio Sostenuto (Arr. A. R. Rahman)
When Beethoven wrote the opening movement to the Moonlight Sonata, he was also rewriting musical history. It’s a piece that breaks free from classical form and sits as one of music’s most timeless masterpieces. And as a way to unite people from all backgrounds, races, and faiths, there are surely few better choices. “It’s such a natural piece—there’s a purity and a simplicity about it,” says the celebrated film composer A. R. Rahman, whose orchestral arrangement of the “Adagio sostenuto” also introduces the world to the Firdaus Orchestra, Dubai’s first all-women symphony orchestra. “I was invited to form the orchestra in 2019, with the idea of it showing how the UAE is progressing and embracing different cultures,” adds Rahman. “We’ve got women of 23 nationalities from countries including Montenegro, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, Serbia, Oman, and, of course, the UAE.”
Rahman—who won the Best Original Score Oscar in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire, and who has written soundtracks for countless Bollywood blockbusters—was so inspired by Beethoven’s music that he completed his arrangement for piano and strings in just one hour. “I sent it to a few people, and a lot of them were in tears. So, we made the decision to release it,” he says. And this release is just the start of the Firdaus Orchestra’s journey: A studio has already been built in Dubai where the ensemble can record albums and soundtracks as well as collaborate with other musicians. “Of course, this orchestra can be very symphonic,” says Rahman. “But at least 30 or 40 percent of its musicians know about Arabic scales and play Arabic instruments. So, they can switch in no time.” Clearly, this beautiful version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata marks the beginning of a thrilling future.